Got the Sunday night back to school/work blues? Here’s a lesson that cheers a day up: head to 45 Gin School and brew your own bottle of gin. I promise, chemistry was never this much fun.
Let me start by saying that I think this is one of the best gift ideas I’ve come across in quite a while, and I think whether gin lover, food lover, science geek or just fun lover, this is a great thing to go and do.
You don’t expect tales of great gin, or a great few hours, to start with “we headed for a farm on the outskirts of Loughborough”. But this one does. The gin school happens at the home of Burleigh’s Gin, and it is on a farm. But once inside, you are transported away to the world of craft distilling. Possibly helped by a Tom Collins. Or two.
Jamie Baxter is the master distiller, and your guide. I love people who are enthusiastic about stuff, any stuff, and Jamie knows his stuff about gin and is most definitely enthusiastic. I could have listened to him for ages, the only person I know who has made an EU directive sound interesting.
You’ll get to know about the distilling process, the bottling process, the botanicals…everything you could ever wish to know, and then you get the history. All of which is fascinating, and then you get down to distilling your own bottle of gin.
Selecting your own botanicals is a little daunting (apart from juniper, which you will have heard several times for Jamie needs to be the dominant flavour for it be classified as gin), but Jamie is great at offering advice. There were gin and tonics flowing by this stage, and plenty of conversation between all of my fellow first time distillers.
We were all thrilled to go through the whole process, of watching our gin drip into beakers, blending it with water, measuring its strength…the whole lot was really exciting. Writing your name on your own bottle of gin was really exhilarating, and I just really enjoyed the whole evening.
In fact the only downside was waiting the suggested few days to try the gin! I waited 5, and it was a treat. Of course, everyone was biased, everyone thought theirs was marvellous, but why not? Can you imagine the bragging rights you get each time you get your own gin out to make a drink or two? This really is the gift that keeps on giving.
You can buy an experience voucher, at £90 for one, or £110 for one plus one spectator. You get the tour, something to drink, and your full size bottle of gin. The bragging rights are thrown in for free.
My thanks to the team at 45 Gin School for the invite to this particular event, it was an amazing evening, and lovely to meet some other local bloggers too. If you want to read other views of the evening, then try The Sticky Beak Blog or Midweek Cocktail Club as good starting points.
I’ll be in the kitchen mixing the best gin and tonic ever.